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Auburn homeowner’s dispute with city over wildflowers results in arrest: Family member records it, shares it to social media

An Auburn man was arrested over wildflowers he planted in front of his house.

City workers showed up to a home on Osborne Street this week to cut down a patch of wildflowers James Udall, 51, planted.

The section where the flowers were planted.

The Citizen reports that it’s been an ongoing conflict between Udall and the City of Auburn.

On Wednesday, when the incident took place, Udall was charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration. He was released later that day, but it wasn’t the first incident involving the two parties.

Two weeks earlier, code enforcement employees sent Udall a letter. The letter indicated that the city received a complaint about the flowers, which he planted in the spring on the city’s right-of-way.

Udall told The Citizen that he contends the City’s code doesn’t cover the wildflowers, because they aren’t weeds or grass. He also contends that city residents complimented him on the flowers. That wasn’t the end of it, though.

After receiving the letter, Udall cut the wildflowers in half. However, city officials responded, telling him that they needed to be cut down to six inches.

Udall’s wife recorded the arrest. It was shared on social media and received significant engagement. Most commenters opposed the city’s action of taking down the wildflowers, and arresting the 51-year-old.